Dental implants are metal (titanium) posts, which are surgically implanted into the jawbone to replace the roots of teeth that are damaged or missing. Implants provide a strong foundation for a new artificial tooth (prosthetic). By providing a strong foundation for new replacement teeth, dental implants allow patients to regain their beautiful smiles with teeth that function and look like natural teeth. Dental implants are a common oral surgery procedure and an innovative alternative to fixed bridgework and dentures, which can be uncomfortable. Implants will not slip, decay, make noise, or cause bone damage like some other treatments are prone to do.
Benefits of Dental Implants in Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley
- Enhanced appearance: Dental implants typically replace missing or damaged teeth and can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
- Comfortable: Implants are fused into the bone and become permanent, allowing them to feel like natural teeth.
- Improved oral health: Unlike with bridgework, other teeth are left intact. Implants allow easy access between teeth for cleaning.
- Durable: With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
- Improved self-esteem: Patients can smile with confidence knowing that their teeth look natural.
- Provide solid support for new prosthetic teeth
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or to secure a fixed denture (group of teeth). Implants can also be used to support an entire arch of teeth.
Find Dental Implant Surgeon Near Me
Pacific Oral Surgery has three convenient office locations in Ventura, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.
Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery
Before dental implant surgery, you will need a comprehensive oral evaluation. Dental x-rays will be taken, and a model of your teeth and mouth will be made.
Patient criteria for dental implant surgery include:
- Healthy oral tissue (bone and gingiva)
- One or more teeth in need of replacement
- Jawbone fully developed
- Adequate bone to secure dental implants or ability to undergo bone grafting
- Able to commit several months for the entire procedure to be completed
Once it has been determined that dental implant surgery is the best choice for you, your surgeon will design an individualized treatment plan to suit your particular needs.
Your dental implant treatment plan will depend on:
- Condition of your jawbone
- Number of teeth needing to be replaced
- Your overall health, medical conditions you may have, and medications you take
Your Pacific Oral Surgeon will work with a team of other dental specialists, which may include your restorative dentist or periodontist. Typically, your oral surgeon will extract the teeth and place the implants, and your dentist makes and fits the permanent (and temporary, if needed) crowns.
The Dental Implant Process
The dental implant process is performed in several stages, usually over a few months. First, the damaged tooth is removed and the jawbone is assessed to determine if bone grafting for dental implants will be necessary. Condition of the jawbone is the determining factor on how the dental implant surgery then proceeds. If bone grafting is necessary, your surgeon may elect to use a computer guided dental implant surgery technique. A socket bone graft, or alveolar ridge preservation graft, is a bone grafting procedure performed after a tooth is lost or extracted to fill the void (extraction socket).
Whenever the jawbone is ready (either after a healing process or initially), your surgeon will place the dental implant. Depending on the complexity of your procedure, your surgeon may utilize sedation, local anesthesia, or general anesthesia. In most cases, dental implant surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure.
To place the dental implant, your surgeon will make an incision in your gum to expose the bone. Holes are then drilled in the jawbone and the post is placed deep into the bone. Unless you need a temporary denture for appearance, you will have a space where the tooth is missing.
In some cases, the abutment (connector between the implant and the crown, or replacement tooth) is placed on at this time. Often, however, it is added later in a second procedure.
Now begins the critical few months during which the jawbone fuses to the surface of the implant (osseointegration). This bone growth is imperative to provide a strong base for your new teeth, much like the roots of your natural teeth.
Once osseointegration has successfully completed, the abutment can be placed to allow the artificial tooth to attach to the implant. Placing the abutment is usually done as an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia. Your surgeon will reopen the dental implant site to attach the abutment, and then close the gum tissue around it leaving the top of the abutment exposed. Your gums will then need approximately another 1-2 weeks to heal.
Selecting New Teeth After Dental Implant Surgery
After dental implant surgery, new impressions of your mouth and your remaining teeth will need to be taken in order for your artificial teeth to be made. These crowns will be placed once your jawbone is deemed strong enough to support tooth functionality.
Options available for your new teeth include:
- Fixed Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges: A permanent crown is cemented to or screwed onto the abutment. In this method, several replacement teeth can be bridged together and supported by one implant.
- Removable Dental Prosthetic or Dental Crown: These teeth securely attach to the abutment with a metal frame that snaps into place. Similar to dentures, the artificial teeth and gums can be taken out to clean or repair.
Your oral surgeon may also offer a combination of removable and fixed dental prosthetics that will best suit your lifestyle.
After Your Dental Implant Surgery
Because placing dental implants does involve surgery, some typical discomfort is not uncommon. After each step of the process, you may experience:
- Swelling of the gums or face
- Pain at the dental implant site
- Minor bleeding
- Bruising of the gums or skin
You should contact your doctor if any symptoms worsen in the days following your surgery. Some patients require additional pain medication or antibiotics to aid in the recovery process.
You will have stitches at the surgery site and will need to eat soft foods for a time during healing. Your surgeon will advise you on specific post-operative instructions for your individual case.
Other rare complications that can occur include:
- Necrosis (death) of the tissue around the implant
- Injury to nearby anatomic structures
- Implant failure
On rare occasions, the implant fails to integrate due to loss of bone or gingiva around the tooth or mechanical failure of the implant. Following your surgeon’s instructions and maintaining good oral hygiene are key to the success of dental implant surgery.
Why Choose a Pacific Oral Surgeon
Selecting a dental implant expert is a critical part of achieving your desired smile. Pacific Oral Surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and are specially skilled and trained in implant dentistry. With decades of experience, the doctors at Pacific Oral Surgery offer competence and compassion to each of their patients and are committed to providing the highest quality care possible.
If you would like to learn more about dental implants, please arrange a consultation with one of our doctors at Pacific Oral Surgery. You may submit an online appointment request or call one of our Pacific Oral Surgery offices located in Ventura, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.
Our team of oral, maxillofacial and dental implant surgeons, Dr. James Jacobs, Dr. John Webb, and Dr. Sebastian Carlson, welcomes you to our Pacific Oral Surgery practice.